Make these simple swaps to sustainable school supplies

Some plastics used in school supplies could contain harmful toxins, but there are alternatives that are also better for the environment.
2:53 | 08/17/22

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Transcript for Make these simple swaps to sustainable school supplies
- We're gonna turn now to our series, Smart School Shopping, Your Organic Kid. This morning, Ginger has what parents need to know about sustainable supplies for the classroom. And Ginger, I know you have some simple swaps to go plastic-free that also saves parents some money - Yes, this is important because it's the time of year we all get this, the school supply list. And sometimes it's like a little nerve-racking. This is mine. But many of the required items just aren't good for the environment and come to find out, might not be great for our kids health. So how are we gonna keep those backpacks full of sustainable, healthy school supplies? [UPBEAT MUSIC] [CLASSROOM BELL RINGING] It's time for back-to-school shopping. But before you fill up that cart, consider more sustainable options. - So I got the kids' school supply list. And right off the top, I can see that there are choices or requests for a lot of plastic. I know that it's not the most sustainable. But is it also not healthy? GMA getting in the lab with Carmen Messerlian, a Harvard professor and scientist who studies everyday toxins and how we can minimize our exposure by making simple swaps when it comes to school supplies. - Anything with plastic is going to have chemicals in it. Reduce that as much as possible. GINGER ZEE: EDCs, or Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are a wide range of toxins that experts are finding disrupt the way our brains and bodies function. They're found all over our environment and commonly in plastic items. While there's a limited research on how plastic school supplies can affect kids health, Messerlian says reducing exposure to plastic any way you can is a good place to start. Actually a ton of plastic-free pencil pouches. They're all canvas up here, polyester. Instead of the plastic mechanical pencils, get the original number twos. - You can just use good old-fashioned wooden pencils. GINGER ZEE: And check for deals on plastic-free items. The paper notebooks are on sale for $0.35. Put plastic on the front of the same thing and you're gonna pay almost $1.00, $0.99. So healthier and less money. We get it, making all these changes can be overwhelming. - I want the flower. - OK. Two friends and moms creating Goodbuy. It's a free online tool that takes the guesswork out of shopping. - We don't expect every parent to know everything there is about sustainability. - So Goodbuy makes it ridiculously easy to find the items you're looking for from the brands and businesses that align with your values. - And that's really what we all need as shoppers and, you know, as parents. - Only 6% of plastic in the United States is recycled properly. And the US is the biggest plastic polluter in the world. So yep, I plan to be that mom, and ask the teacher if we can avoid buying plastic folders and instead get paper. Just a little simple swap and maybe even use it in a lesson plan for the kids.

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